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IPv4 vs IPv6 – The Difference With Detailed Explanation

IPv4 Vs IPv6

IPv4 and IPv6, both of the Internet Protocols are explained in detail and then the tabular difference has been provided for better understanding.

IP Addresses

IP stands for Internet Protocol. IPv4 and IPv6 represent the two different versions 4 and 6 of the Internet Protocol. IPv6 is also the latest version of Internet Protocol. In simple words, IP can be defined as the address of a computer system over a network and this network could be a local network or a global network like the Internet. For proper information exchange from one computer to another or from a server to a client, the IP Addresses are used to identify the location of the sender or receiver in the whole network.

You can find out the IP Address of your computer or any other device connected to the Internet or some other network by following our guide linked below.

This above-linked guide will also guide you in detail about the concept of local (private) and public IP Addresses.

IP Addresses And Networking


IPv4 is basically a numerical address of size 32 bits. An IPv4 address is formed after combining 4 blocks of 8 bits separated using a period (.) symbol. The IPv4 addressing system was originally used in the ARPANET network in 1983. Even today, it is also the most widely used IP addressing version. It is also sometimes termed as the primary internet protocol and the reason being is it is highly dominant in the Internet world. Most of the Internet traffic transmits over IPv4.

As the length of an IPv4 address is 32 bits and each bit can have value either 0 or 1, therefore, 232 IPv4 addresses are practically possible. In other words, IPv4 holds the potential of addressing & connecting, 4,294,967,296 (Four Billion Two Hundred Ninety-Four Million Nine Hundred Sixty-Seven Thousand Two Hundred Ninety-Six) unique devices in a network.

But don’t you wonder, it is still less the population of humans on this planet?

There are over 7 billion humans living on earth and in almost every other developed or developing country everyone has more than 1 device connected to the Internet. Therefore, the Internet connectivity of all of the users with all of there devices is simply not possible using IPv4.

But still as not the entire human population is connected to the Internet and not every time, your device needs to be connected to the Internet, the things are going on well with IPv4 using the concepts like DHCP (Dynamic Host Control Protocol) that assigns you an IP address automatically according to availability. Well, that’s a different thing, Let’s just come back to the topic.

  • It is a connectionless protocol and over the diversified devices, it allows creating a simple virtual communication layer.
  • Obviously it easy to remember by human beings and there are only numbers to memorize and that too is divided into four blocks which make an IPv4 address more readable and even more easy to memorize.
  • Most of the devices, even other than computers support IPv4 addresses.
  • DNS (Domain Name Service), Web Hosting, FTP, Server-Client Communication & Web IP cameras, all of such things are mostly using IPv4 addressing only.


So, the concept of IPv6 arrises when the possible future shortage of IP addresses using version 4 comes into the mind of networking people. So in order to keep the Internet or any other global network running even in the future, we needed an IP addressing system that is capable of connecting a lot more devices at the same time over the same network like the Internet.

IPv6 Large Number Of IP AddressesIPv6 was introduced in 1998 but adopted as the Internet standard in 2017. The length of the IPv6 address is 128 bits. Again as each bit can values 0 or 1, therefore the total number of possible IPv6 addresses becomes 2128, i.e. 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 (Three Hundred Forty Undecillion Two Hundred Eighty-Two Decillion Three Hundred Sixty-Six Nonillion Nine Hundred Twenty Octillion Nine Hundred Thirty-Eight Septillion Four Hundred Sixty-Three Sextillion Four Hundred Sixty-Three Quintillion Three Hundred Seventy-Four Quadrillion Six Hundred Seven Trillion Four Hundred Thirty-One Billion Seven Hundred Sixty-Eight Million Two Hundred Eleven Thousand Four Hundred Fifty-Six).

I know that is not even readable! IPv6 is also sometimes termed as IPng (Internet Protocol Next Generation), rather IPv6 is the official name of IPng. As in IPv4 four groups of 8 bits were combined and written separated by periods (.), in IPv6, 8 groups of 16 bits each are combined and written separated by a colon (:).

IPv4 vs IPv6 – The Tabular Difference

The tabular difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is given below.

Property (Basis for Difference) IPv4 IPv6
IP Address Length (Size) The Length of the IPv4 Address is 32 bits or 4 bytes. The Length of the IPv6 Address is 128 bits or 16 bytes.
Method of Addressing It is a numerical address formed with the combination of 4 different numerical blocks, each of which is of 8 bits.

(Decimal Representation)


It is an alphanumeric address formed with the combination of 8 different alphanumeric blocks, each of which is 16 bits.

(HexaDecimal Representation)

Example. 2011:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7324

Count of Header Fields There are 12 fields in the IPv4 header. There are only 8 fields in the IPv6 header.
Length of Header 20 40
Checksum Field IPv4 Header contains checksum fields. IPv6 Header does not contain checksum fields.
Possible Number of Addresses 232 (4,294,967,296) IPv4 addresses can be generated. 2128 (340+ Undecillion) IPv6 addresses can be generated.
Fragmentation Sending and Forwarding Routes, both perform fragmentation. Fragmentation is only being performed by the Sender.
Encryption & Authentication Not Included Included
Network Configuration DHCP (Dynamic Host Control Protocol) and Manual Address Configuration is supported. It has AutoConfiguration Capabilities, i.e. it supports auto and renumbering address configuration.
Types of Addresses IPv4 supports Unicast, Multicast, and Broadcast. IPv6 supports Unicast, Multicast, and Anycast.
VLSM (Variable Length Subnet Mask) Supported Not Supported
Security Feature Not Provided, Security is dependent on the Application Inbuilt IPSEC security feature is provided
Packet Size Requires a Packet Size of 576 bytes and fragmentation is optional here. It requires a packet size of 1208 bytes without fragmentation.
IP To MAC Resolution & Mapping ARP Broadcast is used in IPv4 for IP To MAC address resolution In the case of IPv6, Multicast Neighbour Solicitation is used. It makes use of  NDP (Neighbour Discovery Protocol) for MAC address mapping.
Optional Header Fields It has optional header fields. Instead of optional header fields, extension headers are available.
Hierarchy Includes network, subnet and host components. Based on Address Classes. Hierarchical addressing based on prefixes, not on address classes.
Mapping of Hostnames in DNS Records Address (A) Records Address (AAAA) Records
NAT (Network Address Translation) NAT makes easier for a group of devices connected under the different private addresses to connect to a network over a single public address. NAT is one of the best features of IPv4. NAT is not required in the case of IPv4 because the range of addresses is already very wide.
SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) Supported in IPv4. Not Supported in IPv6.
Routing Information Protocol (RIP) Supported By Routed Daemon. As it uses static routes, so RIP is not supported here.
Classes IPv4 addresses are divided into five different classes from A to E. IPv6 is classless.

I hope you find this IPv4 and IPv6 guide useful. If so, do share it with others via social media. If you have any questions in your mind related to this article or you just want to share anything about IP addresses and related stuff, feel free to make use of the comments section.

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